Did you know that the main event of your menstrual cycle is ovulation? And regular ovulation is KEY to healthy, balanced hormones – even if baby-making isn’t your main goal right now.
The body is incredible! And it’s constantly giving us messages into the underlying state of our health and our hormones. The quality of our fertility manifests in several physical signs that you can see month after month.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you definitely want to be attuned to your body’s physical signs of ovulation. If you aren’t seeing the physical signs of ovulation, then you may want to consider running some lab work with your gynecologist and seeing what’s happening with you hormonally. We can’t get pregnant if we aren’t ovulating. Anovulatory cycles are characteristic of conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA). Check out my post here on PCOS. This is why they are considered the leading cause of infertility in women of child-bearing age, since they are conditions associated with anovulation.
If you’re a woman who is practicing natural family planning as her form of birth control (which I highly recommend!), you absolutely must be dialed into your fertile window and your body’s fertile cues. If you aren’t aware of when your body is ovulating, you run the risk of possibly conceiving when you may not be wanting this. If you’re in your ovulatory window and you are not on any other form of birth control, use a condom or do other things with your lover that don’t involve P in the V.
THERE IS SOMETHING SO WILDLY EMPOWERING ABOUT KNOWING YOUR BODY SO WELL THAT YOU KNO WHEN YOU CAN AND CAN'T HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX!
Physical Signs of Ovulation
Cervical mucus changes around ovulation
Your vaginal discharge will transition from sticky/tacky/lotion-ey (every woman is different) to thin, stretchy, egg-white-ish and maybe even watery. This is normal and an extremely important sign that you are in your fertile window.
0.6-1.0 degree rise in BBT
Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, the little follicular sac from which the egg emerges from during ovulation. This sac turns into an endocrine gland and secretes progesterone in case conception occurs. Progesterone is a warming hormone, so when you see the rise in your basal body temperature of about 0.6-1.0 degree, you can be fairly certain you ovulated
Cervix moves high up in the vaginal canal
Another great way to see if you are in your ovulatory window is checking your cervical position. The cervix will move up high in the vagina, sometimes so high that you may not be able to feel it with your fingers.
Cervix is open
The cervix opens at two times during the menstrual cycle – during menstruation so your uterine lining can exit your body, and during ovulation when you’re ovulating so sperm can travel up the uterus to meet the egg. When feeling for your cervical positioning, check to feel the opening of your cervix. If you notice that it’s opened, if you’re mid-cycle, and you’re noticing changes in your cervical mucus, you’re probably in your fertile window.
Detectable progesterone on at home test
Progesterone is detectable in urine after ovulation, due to the secretion of progesterone from the corpus luteum. This only happens if ovulation has occurred. If you aren’t seeing confirmation of progesterone in your urine on an at-home testing kit, you most likely did not ovulate.
LH surge on an OPK test
Luteinizing hormone (LH) surges right before ovulation. If you’re using the ovulation predictor kits at home, this is the hormone that those kits are measuring. When you see the surge, the test line will appear darker than the control line. When you see the line, or “the surge”, you’ll want to have sex within 18 to 24 hours, as the egg lives for about 24 hours after it bursts from the follicle. I suggest testing around day 11 and continue to test until you have confirmed the surge. Use your second urine of the day, and be mindful to not drink too much liquid before testing, as this will dilute your urine and may skew the result. If you have been testing consistently for some time and are still not really seeing the surge, consider a more sensitive test like Oova that gives you an actual percentage of LH in the urine.
Note:: if you’re on the birth control pill or on any other type of hormonal contraceptive like the Mirena, these signs may not be present in your body, as hormonal contraceptives suppress normal hormonal functioning. The point of many hormonal contraceptives is to block hormones. If your hormones are suppressed and therefore not in their ideal balance throughout the month, then you can’t depend on your body’s physical cues to tell you anything because they simply won’t be there.
I suggest tracking your cycle if you aren’t already. This is such valuable information and will help you make empowered decisions about your fertility and health in general. Give yourself a few months of diligent tracking to see what your body’s natural cycles are. Every woman is different, what’s important is knowing what is normal for YOU. For example, I ovulate around day 19, not day 14. So my cycle is typically around 33 days as opposed to the “normal” 28-day cycle.
If you suspect you may have PCOS or other condition in which you may not ovulate regularly, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist so run some lab work and do a physical exam. There is a lot that can be done nutritionally to support hormonal imbalances like PCOS, where we fully restore ovulation and eliminate symptoms. This is my own personal story, and that of so many other women out there!
My course, The Hormone Healing Secrets, helps women have better menstrual cycles, restore ovulation, improve fertility, increase energy and libido, restore sex drive, and helps build strength in the body. This is the exact formula I used to restore my own ovulation, completely eliminate any evidence of PCOS, and conceive naturally, all without hormonal birth control or medication or assisted reproductive technology.
I would love to help you improve your hormonal health, have better periods, and optimize your fertility for when you’re ready to become a mama!
Tell me below – do you know if you ovulate regularly? Which physical sign is the most telltale for you?